Thiruvanaikaval (Thiru+Aanai+kaval) or Thiruvanaikoil is a suburb of the city of Tiruchirappalli. It is situated on the northern banks of the Kaveri river adjacent to Srirangam Island. The island [Thiruvanaikaval-Srirangam ] is surrounded by river kaveri (southern) and river kollidam (northern), The famous Jambukeswarar Temple is located here. The temple's presiding deity is Lord Shiva (Jambukeswara) and the goddess is Sree Akilandeswari.
According to thehistory there was once a forest of jambu trees in the place of modern Tiruvanaikka. Nearby was a tank called Chandratheertha which was filled by water from the river Cauvery. Lord shiva appeared as a Lingam under one of the trees. The lingam came to be called the Jambulingam. Due to a curse, two of the shiva ganas Pushpadanta and Malyava, were born in the forest as a white elephant and as a spider. The elephant worshipped the Lingam with flowers and with water brought in its trunk. The spider too worshipped the Lingam, spinning out a web over the Lingam to prevent leaves of the tree from falling on it. The spider's web appeared to be unclean for the elephant and it destroyed the web. This lead to big clash between the two and ultimately resulted in their death. Lord Shiva granted Mokshaa (salvation) to both. The spider was born in a royal Chola family as the great king Ko Chenkannan who built about 70 temples (Maadakovils) including the temple of Jambukeswarar at Tiruvanaika. Because the king remembered about his earlier birth, he built the temples in a such way that no elephant can enter the altar and come near the Sivalingam. The temple at Tiruvanaikaval is a big one covering an area of about 18 acres with high walls and gopurams on all the 4 sides. The temple has 5 prakarams. The main sanctum sancotrum (the 5th prakaram) can be reached by entering a series of Gopurams (Towers). The shrine for female deity Akilandeswari is situated in the 4th prakaram.
• 5th of 108 divya-deshams
• Has the deity of ‘Sundar Rajan’ (the beautiful Lord), a form similar to Lord Ranganatha (at Shrirangam).
• 16 km from Uttamar Kovil, i.e. around 20-25 km from Shrirangam main temple • Once Lord Brahma became proud of his creation. To set things right, the supreme Lord showed Lord Brahma 64 different beautiful arts (kalas) and thus crushed his pride.
• Manduka Rsi got released from his curse here (he had been cursed to become a ‘frog’) Anbil has been in existence from before the Pandavas. Perumaal (Lord) is said to have appeared here in response to prayers of Lord Brahma and Sri Valmiki. There is an interesting episode involving the pushkarani at this holy place. The Manduka pushkarani is common to both Vishnu and Siva sthalam. Mandukam, in Sanskrit refers to a frog. It is said that, once upon a time, a muni was cursed and he became a frog. He wanted to regain his human form. So he bathed every day in these holy waters, for 48 days he observed a vrata and prayed to Perumaal regularly. Lord appeared before him and redeemed him from the curse. This pushkarani has therefore been named after the rishi who got free from being a Mandukam(frog).
This divya desam is also known as Premapuri and Triveni. It is known as Triveni as the three rivers Kaveri, Savitri and Phalguni rivers are said to have merged into one and flowing near this divya desam. Savitri and Phalguni are said to be flowing underground. Hence this place is also known as Dakshina Gaya. Those who cannot go to Gaya in North India, can perform the shraddha ceremony for their forefathers here with an equal effect. This temple is considered to be very old (some say it is almost 6000 years old). There are numerous inscriptions at this temple which indicate the political and religious history in those days. There are inscriptions mentioning that this is the appearance place of Sri Valmiki Muni. It is believed that Lord blessed him before he relocated to North India.
• 6th out of 108 divya-deshams
• This place is named after ‘Appam’, a traditional sweet dish which is a favorite of the Lord here.
• Here the Lord (deity) is called as ‘Appalarangan’, a form similar to Ranganatha (He had appeared here even before the appearance of Lord Ranganatha)
• Very huge and beautiful deity Sri Vaisnavas say that a king named Uparicarvasu lost all his wealth due to a curse and was told to come here and give food in charity (anna-dana). The supreme Lord came in the guise of an old Brahman and requested for charity. When offered, the old man ate all the food. But still He was not satisfied with the offering. The king then understood that the old man was none other than his worshippable lord and so started offering prayers. Being pleased with His devotee, the Lord asked for his favorite food—‘Appam ’ sweet. The king happily offered lots of appam sweets in a huge silver pot. That silver pot is still present in the temple. The moment Lord consumed the pot of appam, the king got liberated from his curse.
• This is the only divya-desam where appam is offered daily to the Lord.
Lord Vishnu emerged as a Kadambha tree at this place, giving the name "Kathambanur", which later became "Karambanur". The name Karambanur is mentioned by Thirumangai Azhwar in Nalayira Divya Prabandam, in which he refers the presiding deity as "Karambanur Uthaman". The temple is commonly called "Uthamar Kovil" after the name of the presiding deity. The temple is also called Bhikshandar Kovil as the Hindu god Shiva is present in the form of Bhishadanar (a mendicant) and believed to have attained cure by worshiping Vishnu at this place. As per history, once Lord Vishnu wanted to test the devotion of Brahma. He raised as a Kadhamba tree in the place and Brahma, knowing this, started his worship practise with Thirumanjanam (ablution). The water from the ablution filled a tank nearby, which came to be known as "Kathamba Theertham". Vishnu was satisfied with the devotion of Brahma and gave a boon to Brahma to have a shrine in this place. Shiva wanted to get rid off the sin holding the cut head of Brahma and went on a sacred trip. While coming to this place, Vishnu requested his consort Lakshmi to give alms to Shiva. Shiva's grail was filled by the alms and Lakshmi came to be known as "Poornavalli" (the one who filled the grail).